There are a lot of things in my life that I would just rather pay someone to do for me than actually do it myself. Change my car’s oil. Cut my hair. Put on my shoes in the morning. You know, the usual stuff. Sometimes, I just can’t be bothered to learn how to do this shit for myself, or frankly I’ll never do it as well as someone else. That’s why the TV dinner industry exists — for people like me who subsist on crappy frozen food because I simply cannot figure out how to properly roast a chicken. Have you tried? It’s impossible.
So of course it makes TOTAL sense that when it comes to finding a mate, entrepreneurs stepped up and said “hey, people will pay for anything. Let’s make them pay to meet their husband or wife!”… and we FELL FOR IT!
So the question I want to address here is… how much is it worth to meet the woman or man of your dreams? What really is the price of love?
What’s funny when you really think about it is the number of people who refuse to do online dating that isn’t free. This is, arguably, the most important decision of your entire life. You are literally trying to meet someone you will know forever, co-habitate with, and procreate with. Is now the time to pinch pennies?
That said, finding someone to love you is the most uncomfortable, awkward, soul sucking search in the entire world. So I think CEOs should cut all of us shmucks a break and make this shit free. Also because 90% of the people who message me have clearly copied and pasted the same shpeal to 150 other women.
So I did a little research and here’s the deal — dating online, seriously, is expensive. Depending on the site, it costs about the same each month as your car insurance. It costs about the same each month as your cheap wine habit. It costs about the same each month as your gym membership that you’ve never used. It costs about the same each month as your cell phone bill… if your cell phone is actually one of those burner phones you got from Walmart so you couldn’t be tracked by the government.
Looking at the two biggest pay-online dating sites, signing up for one month of match.com will set you back $37. eHarmony? $60. And these sites will continue to charge you until you cancel, which can really ad up. However, looking for love on a pay site means the matches you meet are serious enough in finding a partner to invest money in it, which I personally see as a plus.
Sites like Plenty of Fish, OK Cupid, Tinder, and others are free, but are also flooded with everyone who isn’t seriously looking to date or is looking for casual sex, making these sites often less than optimal for serious relationship seekers (though of course I know some people who have found success).
According to Nielsen, about 10% of the US population visits online dating sites every month — a pretty staggering number if you think about it. Indeed, this site says online dating is a $1.1 BILLION industry. Yep, with a “b.”
And yet, the marriage rate in the US has been in steady decline. In fact, the rate of marriage is lower than any time since 1870 — lower even than the Great Depression (source).
So what gives? Why are we spending more money on finding love, and yet seem to have less and less success?
And what if you want to go offline? Paying for a matchmaker can cost upwards of $5,000 if you’re really serious about meeting someone (depending on where you live). And before you ask — yes, matchmakers are still a thing (who knew it’s not just in Mulan!?). That said, there is something kind of creepy to me about telling someone what you want and sending them out into the world to track them down for you. I mean, I definitely want that kind of service in a personal shopper, but not so much in a husband-shopper. I want to be able to look a person right in the face and say “I’m sorry, I don’t date men with mutton chops.”
If you haven’t watched “Chelsea Does Marriage” on Netflix, you should. There’s an awesome scene where she meets all these dudes she was matched with by a matchmaker. Spoiler: They all suck.
So what IS the right price for finding love? How much are we willing to invest of our own hard-fought money for a future of happiness and companionship?
As someone early in my career, I am much less willing to part with my money and much more willing to give away things I have an excess of — like time, or delicious homemade brownies, or saliva. It’s really difficult when you’re trying to make rent and keep your lights on to say “yeah… let’s also throw $60 at the Interwebs to find me a man.” I mean… I’m giving this like a 5% probability that my $60 won’t just disappear into the universe without result. So isn’t it better if I keep my $60 and spend it on the massive amount of Valentine’s chocolate and flowers that I’m going to have to buy for myself since I have no one to buy it for me?
Thanks for reading everyone — I hope you have a super awesome and not at all depressing Valentine’s Day! And if you like what you read, please comment below and share with your friends 🙂